You don’t say

“We would hope that they’ve got the message and we don’t show up in the show.”

– Haysville Mayor Bruce Armstrong, who led the charge for residents who feel bullied by Gridiron, which starts Thursday

“As much as Gridiron would love to stop being bullied by Haysville, the reports I’m getting from rehearsal sound like we were not able to keep them out of the script this year.”

Denise Neil, a features writer for The Eagle who also is producing the journalists’ show that spoofs local news

Haysville leaders and residents are weary of being ‘portrayed as illiterate bumpkins’

The Gridiron cast usually makes Haysville jokes as an aside, not a full skit. Still, the city is not amused by them.

The Gridiron cast usually makes Haysville jokes as an aside, not a full skit. Still, the city is not amused by them.

UPDATED — The joke’s on them, and Haysville leaders and residents are not amused.

“We request that you remove all jokes about Haysville and other area communities from Gridiron,” said Haysville Mayor Bruce Armstrong in a Thursday e-mail to several people involved with the show.

Gridiron is an annual satirical production put on by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to spoof the news and raise scholarship money for journalism students.

Armstrong said “compromising the well being of the citizens and businesses of Haysville with snide, hurtful and untrue remarks is not an acceptable means to securing the funds for those scholarships.”

Armstrong’s wife, Susan Armstrong of Armstrong Chamberlin Strategic Marketing, also wrote to “respectfully request that you reconsider any skits that portray an entire city–any city–as ignorant or toothless, or cheap. It’s the equivalent of bullying, and it shouldn’t be done.”

She said that “Haysville is growing weary of having our whole community portrayed as illiterate bumpkins. We are working hard to improve the awareness of all the wonderful qualities our city has to offer. Every time you mention Haysville at Gridiron, you hurt our efforts.”

John Burke, superintendent of schools for Haysville USD 261, wrote, “I find this counterproductive to our image campaign and am respectively requesting that you stop making fun of Haysville as part of your production.”

One resident wrote to invite those involved with Gridiron to visit Haysville for a tour – along with coming up with new material and giving Haysville a break.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton, who regularly attends Gridiron and spars with the cast, says enough probably is enough.

“Well, I’ve always been a very, very good sport with the sarcasm, the innuendo, the poking and everything,” he says. Norton says, though, the joke is wearing thin.

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An uncomfortable but timely reminder follows Kansas Food Bank donation

Kansas Food Bank CEO Brian Walker with Denise and me.

Kansas Food Bank CEO Brian Walker with Denise and me.

There was an interesting little juxtaposition of events in my life on Friday.

First, Denise Neil and I stopped by the Kansas Food Bank to drop off the $1,316 raised at our second On the Town With Carrie and Denise event.

Then, that night, I came down with a horrible stomach bug that has left me fairly miserable since then. What does one have to do with the other?

Well, after days of not eating much, I woke at 5 a.m. Tuesday with maddeningly loud, almost painful hunger pangs. I was so hungry I couldn’t get back to sleep. I rolled out of bed, dragged myself downstairs, still sort of stunned at what I was doing, and ate a piece of bread and some crackers. Finally, I could concentrate on getting some rest.

It was a sad glimpse into what life must be like every day for thousands of Kansans who don’t have enough to eat, except they don’t have cabinets full of food at the ready when the need strikes.

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Clark Kent drops by The Eagle

clarkkentMy colleague Denise Neil and I had a great time talking with 15-year-old aspiring journalist James “Clark Kent” Copeland Tuesday at The Eagle’s holiday open house.

We warned James that this may not be the smartest career choice for his financial future, but he assured us as long as he’s doing something he loves, money won’t matter.

James, honey, talk to me in 20 years.

We inadvertantly gave James another little lesson about the cutting room floor. I’d planned to run this picture in our Out of the Office feature in the paper today, but apparently we ran out of room.

That’s the way it goes at a daily paper, James. One day, you’ll know all about it.

On the Town with Carrie, Denise and you

Food. Friends. Fun.

They’re all on the menu Tuesday night at Oeno as my dining colleague Denise Neil and I host our first “On the Town with Carrie and Denise,” a culinary cocktail adventure if you will.

The plan is to gather on the patio at Oeno in Old Town Square at 5:30, eat some free appys, perhaps drink our signature ICTini and talk food.

There will be a formal Q&A where Denise and I answer restaurant-related questions (or, heck, most anything else you’d like to ask).

We’ll tackle some of the standard questions (When is that Chick-fil-A coming to Central and Rock?) and some unexpected ones (as tough as you care to make them).

Which is where you come in. Please join us and fellow Wichita foodies. It’ll be relaxed and casual and hopefully the start of a fun new tradition.